WASHINGTON – Both chambers of Congress have now passed legislation that includes a bipartisan provision by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, that would grant government agencies the necessary authorities to protect against drone threats. The bill now heads to the President’s desk for his signature.
“We’ve seen rapid advances in drone technology, but government policy in this area simply hasn’t kept pace,” McCaskill said. “I’m glad we were able to work in a bipartisan way to get this bill done, and I’m going to keep working across the aisle to protect Missouri families and communities from national security threats.”
The Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018 passed the Senate this week as part of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act. The bill, which the House of Representatives passed last week, empowers the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to protect buildings and assets when there is an unacceptable security risk to public safety posed by an unmanned aircraft. The bill also requires DHS to conduct several assessments to evaluate emerging threats that drones may pose to state or private critical infrastructure entities and domestic airports.
McCaskill teamed up with Republican Chairman Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Republican Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota, and Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota to introduce the bill earlier this year. Last month, McCaskill’s bill earned the support of the National Football League (NFL) at a Senate hearing.
McCaskill has long supported Congressional action to address the nation’s vulnerability to 21st century national security threats both at home and abroad. Last week, her bipartisan bill to safeguard against supply chain security threats advanced in the Senate. In June, she voted to confirm the Administration’s pick for the top cybersecurity official at the Department of Homeland Security. The Senate approved a McCaskill-backed bill in April to strengthen cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security. McCaskill also led a bipartisan effort to strengthen and enhance the Department of Homeland Security’s role in protecting the country’s cybersecurity by creating the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency within the Department, a change the Department of Homeland Security resoundingly supports. Last month, a McCaskill-backed bill that addresses cybersecurity threats to small businesses was signed into law by President Trump.